Often hailed as one of the heaviest bands in existence, deathcore band The Acacia Strain is back with their sixth album Death is the Only Mortal. While I am not a fan of the genre nor the band, I have to give it a few listens. It was not like The Acacia Strain did not put out decent stuff. It was just never my cup of tea. With that being said, while Death is the Only Mortal did not really surprise me, it is not a bad album by any means (contrary to the mass opinion about it).
When you listen to The Acacia Strain, you pretty much know what you are getting into. With their crunchy, fuzzed out guitar tones and constant progression with each release, there was an idea in the back of my mind that Death is the Only Mortal had a lot of potential. On the surface, The Acacia Strain my seem to be just another deathcore band, but that, by no means, is even close to the truth, and Death is the Only Mortal shows why. It seems like their previous releases were working up to this one, which ends up being their heaviest and most dynamic release to date. Not sure if that has anything to do with the album being produced and engineered completely in house by D.L., the band’s guitarist or not.
Now that I got all the praise out of the way though, there are a bunch of negatives to Death is the Only Mortal. While the guitar tone is heavy and crushing throughout most of the release, it get repetitive quickly and the speed dynamic is almost nowhere to be found on the album. When a groove comes on, it is quickly halted and we get back to the down tempo string bending again.
The production on the album is average at best and I am still not sold on the vocals either, but there is more of a maturity to the vocal work on this album. Also, in regards to their maturity, while the lyrics do portrary slightly more maturity to them, they are definitely not any better than previous lyrics which are subpar at best.
Overall, while Death is the Only Mortal is The Acacia Strain’s most dynamic release to date, I am not sure that it can be ranked anywhere near the top of their body of work. It is a decent release though, but from talking to die-hard The Acacia Strain fans, this is that album that veered off course.